Jenifer Ann Morgan, age 84, died peacefully at her home in Celo Community, North Carolina, on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Jenifer was a gifted listener and a caring friend to the many people who relied on her comfort and wisdom.
Jenifer was born and raised in Yellow Springs and graduated from Antioch College with a degree in government and economics; she went on to obtain a master’s degree in social work at the University of Chicago. She was the daughter of Elizabeth Morgan ’36 and Ernest Morgan ’29, and granddaughter of Arthur and Lucy Morgan.
Jenifer was a tireless advocate for people, families and social justice. A social worker and community organizer, she worked in Chicago to combat housing segregation and “redlining,” the practice by which banks refuse to invest in poor neighborhoods and communities of color.
Jenifer moved permanently to Celo Community, founded by her grandfather, in 1976. There, she worked with families and children as a social worker, for the local Board of Education, for Celo Press, where she edited her father’s books, and Rural Southern Voice for Peace. She served 12 years as member and chair of the Yancey County Department of Social Services Board and was a member of the Board of the Arthur Morgan School. She was active in local politics for many years.
Jenifer’s heart was large. She helped to start the local Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations, sheltered Salvadoran and Guatemalan refugees and initiated the Sister City relationship between Asheville and San Cristobal, Mexico. She initiated a “local lenders” program and supported innumerable good people and causes.
Raised a Quaker, Jenifer ended her spiritual journey as a thoughtful and open-minded Catholic. She attended Celo Friends Meeting until her death, and joined and attended the local Methodist, Catholic and AME churches. The daughter of a music teacher, she loved music, sang in choirs and played the piano and organ — sometimes in more than one church on a given Sunday.
Jenifer was preceded in death by her parents; by her beloved sister, Benetta; and by her grandson, Gary Hart. She is survived by her brothers, Art (Sherry) Morgan, of Indiana, and Lee (Vicky) Morgan ’66, of Minnesota; by her children, Eric (Pam Laser) Hart, of Vermont, and Linda Hart, of Celo; her grandsons, Daniel and Corey Hart; cousin (“sister”) Faith (Pat Murphy) Morgan, of Yellow Springs; and many other cousins, nieces, nephews and bereaved friends.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Oct. 19, 11 a.m., at Higgins Memorial United Methodist Church, located at 101 N. Main Street, Burnsville, N.C. In lieu of flowers, you may donate in Jenifer’s name to Reconciliation House, PO Box 1147, Burnsville, NC 28714, or http://www.rechouse.org.